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Microchip Uses NetBeans as Springboard for Industry Awards

01.27.2012
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During the past month, Microchip has been honored with four industry awards for our MPLAB X IDE. In the U.S., we won ECN Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Tech Award in the Software category, and were named by the editors of EDN to their 2011 Hot 100 list, in the Development Tools category. We also received the embedded industry’s most coveted European award—the Elektra—in the Design Tools and Development Software category. Finally, we were honored to receive the EDN China Innovation Award, in the Leading Product category.

As manager of MPLAB X IDE, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the contributions that Oracle and the NetBeans community made in helping us achieve a successful Beta program and December’s launch of Version 1, along with all of these prestigious awards.

Benefits of NetBeans

From a big-picture perspective, NetBeans provided the framework for our entire IDE, which allowed Microchip to focus on the connectivity to our debug tools—including the addition of multiple simultaneous debugging sessions—while maintaining what our customers love best about the MPLAB IDE; seamless migration among our entire portfolio of 800+ PIC® microcontrollers. Ultimately, NetBeans enabled us to bring our next-generation MPLAB X IDE to our customers much sooner, and with proven editing and project-management features that have been validated by the large NetBeans community.

One of the new features that our customers love best is cross-platform support for Linux, Mac OS® and Windows®, which NetBeans provided out-of-the-box. This has opened the door for our customers to do their embedded development on whichever OS they prefer, instead of being forced to use a Windows PC.

NetBeans also enabled us to add an advanced editor with code completion and easier code navigation. For example, the NetBeans pre-parser provides an infrastructure for navigating throughout your code quickly and easily, among many other things. That same infrastructure is used to create call graphs, which provide a means to visually analyze your software architecture.

The fact that NetBeans is Open Source means that our customers can use already-written plug-ins for enhanced or new functionality, and it is wide open to contributions from the NetBeans and embedded-developer communities to port their plug-ins or create new ones just for MPLAB X. For example, Microchip recently released a new plug-in for Gimpel’s PC-lint, which does C/C++ syntax checking.

Microchip is a global company, and NetBeans has built-in support for many international languages, which we plan to implement in future iterations of the MPLAB X IDE. We also have plans to take advantage of the new features being added to NetBeans 7.1 and later versions, for expanded functionality. Eventually, we hope to create an MPLAB X plug-in to the NetBeans IDE, so designers can do native Java coding alongside embedded development with MPLAB X.

Conclusion

Microchip extends its thanks to the NetBeans community for blazing the trail, and their support and patience during our development of MPLAB X. We’re looking forward to making the move to NetBeans 7.1, and bringing its host of new features to the Microchip embedded-developer community.

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Published at DZone with permission of its author, Vincent Sheard.

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